Gaaaah still so crazy to say it out loud!! Anyway, we had the most incredible physically distanced gender reveal party in my parents’ backyard a few weekends ago, a couple weeks after we’d gotten the results of our Harmony test back (an NIPT test that checks for chromosomal abnormalities, which also lets you find out gender early!). To be totally honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do a gender reveal party at first…while celebrating with an epic baby shower was important to me and I knew my curiosity would get the better of me and that I’d know the sex before my 9 months were up (I’m the type of person who reads ahead on Wikipedia on plot lines while watching a movie, so clearly very impatient), I wasn’t really sure I wanted to make a big deal out of the baby’s sex one way or another at the beginning of my pregnancy.
But frankly, with everything going on with COVID and when it really was looking like there might be a potential of having no big parties at any point this summer (not to mention I’d seen my parents once in maybe two months [that’s them further down the post, what a lovely duo] and hadn’t seen Matt’s family at all in months), we decided it’d be really nice to just get together with our loved ones somewhere outdoors and safely physically distanced to celebrate. While I had had some misgivings about celebrating the sex since the most important thing to me as a mum-to-be is that this kid knows that whatever they are and however they choose to express themselves in the future, we are always just there to support and accept them as they are, it was really tremendously special and important to just get together as a group and celebrate that this little one is being born into the most incredible network of unconditional love, support and non-stop attention in the world (seriously, this kid is going to think they’re #1 for the rest of their lives). It was just so special to have everyone together just to experience finding out as a group and to get to spend time together during such strange times.
As it turns out, by the time we had our gender reveal, I had been fully convinced (like 110% convinced) for the last few months that I was having a girl. While my parenting approach would be the same regardless of what the sex was (all I care about is raising a kid that’s loving, kind, empathetic, sees the fun/joy in life at every turn and who feels confident and supported in fulfilling their greatest potential across the board…oh, and ideally, I want them to share my same taste in awful movies so I have someone to watch them with), I’m not going to lie…despite my best efforts to remain neutral and the fact that I’m not even someone who puts stock in typical gender stereotypes, I was finding myself wrapped up a little bit in the idea of raising a little girl, particularly since I have a bit of a roadmap as to what being a woman in this world is like so felt somehow a bit more equipped for it.
It took me a beat to get over the shock (because from old wives tales to my gut instinct, everything had been pointing to a girl—that shock is super visible in this video here!), but I am so, so unbelievably excited to be a boy’s mum and for the amazing honour/responsibility of that. I did have a momentary worry upon finding out about whether our little guy would connect with me as much as Matt since I’m more of a girl’s girl in so many regards, but quickly realized how little any of that mattered. First of all, our little one might not even be into some “little boy things” like Marvel and the like (and if he loves that kind of stuff, I can get into all that too as it is!), but even if he is more like what you generally hear with little boys (high energy, adventurous, reckless etc) I actually realized I’m really very well-suited to all that energy in so many ways—I’m actually the one who’s most likely to fling themselves into the middle of the ocean, who still jumps in puddles and doesn’t mind getting dirty, who likes a good mid-day dance freak-out while Matt watches me with a patient, resigned smile and whose “need for speed” (as Matt calls it) hasn’t let up after all these years as I barrel down a hill on my bike. Again, who knows what our little one will love, be like, etc, but it was reassuring to remind myself that I’m going to be just fine with a mischievous, athletic little dude because that’s how I have always been as it is and that alone gives us a tremendous connection if he is that way. At the end of the day, they’re your kid and that unreal connection will be forged because of that reason alone.
On a more serious and actually important note, I’m also really honoured/feel a big responsibility to do my best in raising a young man who stands up for the right things, who has strong values, who feels free to be himself in all regards and to champion others being themselves, and who can empathize with and support everyone regardless of background, expression, etc, particularly those facing injustice. I feel like this is important for either sex but I feel it particularly with a boy for whatever reason…I just really think the world could really use some more empathetic, compassionate and aware men right now. I have some great male and female role models for him in addition to hopefully being the best example I can be myself, from Matt to my incredible little brother to his granddads, to his amazing aunts and grandmas and all of our collective group of friends. It’s no small feat to try to raise a little one that way, but fortunately I don’t have to do it all by myself since he’ll have the most amazing people to look up to as role models.
I’ve got to give my little sister and brother the biggest shout-out because they literally busted their asses pulling together this gorgeous, somewhat impromptu gender reveal—we did it over in my parent’s backyard on a super hot Saturday, and they spent 10 hours making this makeshift box to accommodate the balloon arrangement, got the balloons, my sister called in to find out the gender (as I shared in our little first trimester recap here, and by little I mean it’s literally a novel!), they made sure drinks, food and dessert was all set up in safe ways since it’d be 3 households altogether there, they set up loungers and chairs so everyone could watch safely and just ensured we all felt safe in general which was key as a paranoid preggo in the time of COVID. My parents obviously did a lot too to accommodate us all, and I’m just so grateful to my fam for pulling it together (and also so grateful to Matt’s family for making the longer trek over to my parent’s in Lynn Valley as Matt’s parents are all the way out past Lion’s Bay, and just to get to see them finally too). Both my older sister and Matt’s little sister got patched in from their various locations (Amsterdam and Auckland) to watch too, so it really was the full families getting to witness it all together which was so special.
It also just gave me more reassurance that we can still celebrate such a huge thing for us even if it means us getting a bit more inventive, and made me feel much more confident that we could pull off something still for a baby shower. I mentioned this on stories during a Q&A recently, but I’m happy to admit that it’s actually really meaningful and important for me to celebrate this joyful change in our lives and to hope we can do it with as many of our friends and family as possible. We decided a long time ago not to get married (12+ years in, we feel as good as married and are as committed to one another as any other couple) and don’t regret that at all, but it does feel special to celebrate our love for one another in really the a pretty incredible expression of love: having a baby together! So feeling like this actually worked out so well with our gender reveal gave me so much more reassurance that we could still have an epic “baby bash,” as I’ve been calling it, as I was kind of mourning missing out on that experience potentially leading up to our gender reveal.
Anyway, yet another huge chapter in this short novel I’m writing so far about my pregnancy, thanks for bearing with me if you’re not crazy into motherhood or babies! I am getting back to regular programming soon but to be fair, I’ve spent 4+ months keeping a secret in the middle of this pandemic with little else to think about, so I’m just kind of loving the last couple of weeks and to be able to finally share it all!